Gardening for children means so much more than playing in the pole bean tunnels. Although how can gardening get any more fun than this! I think that Grandson Bradley will always remember gardening with his Grandfather, Tom Meade in this special Virginian Heirloom Garden! What do you think?
The Pinto Snap Bean growing is a rare heirloom. In Tom's Garden it flourishes as he saves the seeds that he hopes Bradley will grow to pass down to his Grandchildren as well.
On this virtual garden tour Tom tells us that “A lot of people would never consider a green bean as one of their favorite heirlooms, but mine is a green bean that I have been growing out now for 10 yrs.”
We were lucky to hear the story he shares about the discovery of this special pole bean.
Tom tells, “I went back home to where I am originally from in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia near the Kentucky border.”
“I hadn't been back in many years. As I visited with family, I ran into a childhood friend that invited me over for supper.”
“His wife served green beans that were fried, not cooked in boiling water for hours with a piece of some type of pork boiled with them as I usually had them. This was the BEST I had ever had as my friend explained it was all about the bean!”
“I asked what kind of green bean it was and he replied, a pinto snap. I had never heard of it and being the gardener I am I asked a few more questions about it. It turned out that it had been passed down from his grandfather to his father and to him. His grandfather had found seed in a mason jar with a zinc lid in an old cabin in Kentucky that they were moving to a museum in the 1940's.”
Now Tom had my full attention! He told us that they were happy to share some of the seeds with him that fall. When spring rolled around he got busy with them and planted in the garden.
He explains that, “the bean is eaten as a young green bean and is virtually a stringless pole bean flat in nature. They produced early to my surprise. In fact they beat all my other pole beans by a month!”
Tom also tells us that when the temperatures begin to reach the 90′s the beans will begin to fade back. But that as the temperatures begin to drop again in the fall they come back in full force. He was able to harvest about 10 pounds of seeds. “Enough to last a life time,” he tells us “and enough to not worry about loosing this precious heirloom.”
As we love to eat our pinto beans in the south, I must say the opportunity to grow them as a pole bean with a snap is irresistible. I can see these historical beans growing in our garden next season.
You can find Tom Meade busy trading heirloom seeds and sharing some wonderful garden advice on his blog, Tom's Garden, as well as his special group on Facebook called Seed Traders. You can also find him sharing seeds in Seed Traders For Future Generations.
Become a part of preserving diversity as well as history. You can change the course of the garden for future generations!